How do I best prepare for the discharge of my 78 year old mother who has had a lengthy stay in hospital and has been denied going to a rehabilitation facility prior to coming home? My dad (80) will be home with her, but it will be too much for him to be responsible to look after her.
This story, or something similar, is common in many families when an elderly member has been in the hospital and is soon to be discharged. But coming home should be a cause for celebration - not concern and anxiety. Here are some steps to help your loved one get home safely and be taken care of after hospital discharge.
Connect with the social worker in the hospital ward. Connect with them as early as possible. They are well-versed in the logistics of discharging and they are your in-hospital advocates.
Request a discharge planning meeting. Here, you can discuss the services that are available from the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) in Ontario. Also ask for a meeting with the hospital's CCAC discharge planner. Ask the social worker if you are having trouble finding this person.
The discharge planner will answer your questions about what government home care services will be provided. Afterwards, you will be able to make an informed decision as to what additional private services you may require, to ensure the discharge is successful and that your loved one does not have to return to the hospital.
Get a Registered Nurse Case Manager. The case manager should attend the discharge meeting as well. They are familiar with the healthcare system and can advocate for you to get such services as ambulance transport home, more hours of CCAC-provided in-home care, and keep all members of your loved one's care team coordinated and in the loop. They can also help prepare the house for a safe and comfortable homecoming and prepare the caregivers in their roles.
Consider one or more of these private services (and discuss them with your case manager).
- additional personal care by a personal support worker (PSW)
- In-home physiotherapy
- In-home occupational therapy
- In-home nutritionist
- In-home massage therapy
All of these services are available through Qualicare without the delays that are common in CCAC services. To learn more, request a free In-Hospital Assessment.